Morris sheds nerves for debut success
For Chennai Super Kings' new recruit, fast-bowling South African allrounder Chris Morris, Wednesday night's match against Kings XI Punjab was a mixed bag. He leaked 11 runs in his first over, but finished with tidy figures. He began the day nervously - "I left my bag behind at the hotel" - but ended it feeling part of the set-up, having "never waved so much at a crowd in my life".
Overall, it was quite a clinical performance from Super Kings, as they strolled to a ten-wicket victory over Kings XI at their home ground. That, the players who spoke after the match from both camps agreed, came down to the hosts not having scored enough runs. Kings XI were a comfortable 106 for 3 after 14 overs, before being skittled out for 138 with a ball to spare.
Talking to the IPL website about Kings XI's slide, Morris said: "I think we bowled well. It was a good wicket to bat on, and I thought the guys played well to pull it back the way they did."
Morris got his first over in the fourth of the match, and began with an impressive ball in the blockhole. However, he then strayed a bit in line, getting too close to the batsmen's pads, and was hit for two four by Manan Vohra. In his second over, M Vijay dropped a simple catch off his bowling, allowing David Hussey a life. In his third, Morris got his first wicket as Azhar Mahmood mistimed a pull. "It was unbelievable to get that first [wicket]. I knew he was going to have a go. I thought I would take the pace off and fortunately it worked for me, because he is quite a dangerous player," Morris said. "I am very happy that my plans worked."
In his final over Morris claimed the wicket of Ryan Harris to finish with 2 for 27, figures that he was quite satisfied with: "Unbelievably happy with my first [match]. If anyone told me before the game what my figures would have been, I would have taken it."
Morris had arrived in India on Monday, following the conclusion of his domestic commitments, and learned he would play during Tuesday's training session. "I had a bit of a run with the team and [the coach] Stephen Fleming came to me and said we need you in this role. Then I had a rough night's sleep and got it together this morning."
Expectedly, Morris said, the conditions were new to him: "There is not as much bounce as in South Africa and that I have to get used to, but I will work in practice and I will get better."
Vohra, who was one of the key figures in Kings XI's victory in their opening game against Pune Warriors, said his team had fallen well short of a par score on this pitch. "It was good batting track and we scored really few runs. A total of 180 was needed here.
"The ball was coming on to the bat really well, and we were playing well. But when David Hussey got out, a couple of bad shots made it [the slide] happen."